Saudi Arabia will increase by 50 percent the quota of foreign footballers in its pro league, as part of broader efforts to develop sports in the kingdom.
Six foreigners instead of four will be allowed per team in the Abdul Latif Jameel League, the Saudi Football Federation decided, in a ruling carried by the state press agency late Thursday.
The ruling applies to the 14-team league from next August when the new season begins.
Under wideranging plans for social change and economic diversification announced last year, the kingdom wants more of its citizens exercising while raising Saudi Arabia’s global competitiveness in selected sports.
As part of that effort, “the managing board of the Saudi Football Federation has decided to increase the number of professional non-Saudi players in the clubs”, said Adel bin Mohammed Ezzat, who heads the federation.
He was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The government has also talked of privatising football clubs, most of which are reportedly owned by the state.